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Requited by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed on Drunken Boat

 

Leaving Their Roses Behind 

Reviewed by Carlo Matos 

When a pair of doomed lovers wanders a garden, as they do in the very
first prose poem of Kristina Marie Darling’s Requited, it’s hard not to cast
them in the roles of Adam and Eve, the original doomed pair of the
Christian tradition. “We walk to a rose garden in the dead of winter,”
says our heroine, which suggests the garden may have already gone
through its postlapsarian transformation, trapped as it is in “a season
[that] never changes.” They stroll in a garden where the ivy is dead and
the only cherubs about are made of ice-cracked stone. Right from the
start, we sense the relationship, like the statues, is fracturing. “There
are always so many things that can go wrong in a conversation,” says
our speaker, which on the surface of things is a wonderfully simple way
of describing how relationships often miss the mark, but it also has to be
the most understated way of describing the ultimate failure of logos in
the first paradise—a series of catastrophic conversations between
YHWH, the couple, and the pesky serpent.

And like their Biblical counterparts, they too must eventually leave
the garden: “The way out of the garden is simple. I let go of your hand
and climb over a chain link fence.” The way out, of course, is always
simple; it’s the way back in that is challenging like the walled garden
of Milton’s paradise protected by warlike archangels with flaming
swords. Milton’s couple walks hand-in-hand east of Eden, but for
Darling’s couple to find their way out, they must simply break their grip
and make the climb alone.

Read the whole review here 

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Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow Reviewed on Prick of the Spindle

Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow

BlazeVOX [books], 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60964-082-8
Paperback, 146 pp., $16
Review by Marie Loeffler

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
—from “Song of Myself” (1892 version) by Walt Whitman

A celebration of humanity seems to circumscribe Bill Yarrow’s poetic style, his artistic curiosity drawn out in phrases that take common experiences, elevating them into all-encompassing—possibly best described as worldly—perspectives on existence. Yarrow is bold as he juxtaposes complex images and ideas, delving deeper than surface thinking on any given topic, while he explores a rich collection of diverse word meanings and themes. He utilizes a variety of poetic forms, as well, fusing the intricate human mind’s multifarious inner workings with humor, personality, and humility.

Yarrow most poignantly sings of the self in past reflections of personal journeys, describing such events with intense imagery and words that paint a poetic tableau of colors, scents, and tastes. Yarrow vividly recounts a vacation he took at a northern resort where

He was drawn to water…
Water of dangerous
hues of blue. More violet than the pale-faced palette
of the sky.

He follows this solid setting of his scene with a more serious philosophical reflection:

Water, the glue of contingent necessity.
Water, the stippled foundation of all foundational
philosophy. He looked into the watery eyes of the old
woman sitting next to him.

This excerpt is striking for many reasons: Yarrow’s play on the word “foundation,” the rhythm of the section with syllables that dance lightly on the tongue when spoken aloud, the repetition of “Water.” Due to all of these minute yet hardly insignificant nuances, the piece has not only a strong visual quality, but also a musical feel that is a pleasure to read. But this pleasure does not in any way make the poem trivial; the work is enhanced by the seriousness of Yarrow’s connection to the place and to the old woman he notices, who readers are invited to observe with the author in tandem—a prompt that randomly and miraculously connects everyone who participates in viewing this particular work. The entire vignette draws to a similarly mellifluous and soothing close with alliteration in syllables as smooth as the images Yarrow employs to give life to his thoughts:

The sun was disappearing over
Traverse City. There was nothing on the lake but a
faint sailboat and a shadowy gull…
The soft sounds of sunset had subsided into silence.
The black water infinitely resonant spoke a lasting vastness.

Read the whole review here
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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Poet's Quarterly

The “Darling” of the Poetry World

Millicent Bórges Accardi, Interviews Editor

Reviews have made me a better writer, one who is more articulate
about her own practice. Poetry is a conversation, and your book is
just the beginning.

The “Darling” of the Poetry World


Millicent Bórges Accardi, Interviews Editor

Reviews have made me a better writer, one who is more articulate about her own practice. Poetry is a conversation, and your book is just the beginning.


The author of over twenty books, including Melancholia (An Essay), Petrarchan and a hybrid genre collection called Fortress, as well as a collaboration poetry book with Carol Guess about bridal registries called X Marks the Dress, Kristina Marie Darling is one of the most prolific writers in the 21st century.
Darling’s awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.

Millicent Bórges Accardi: Erin Elizabeth Smith (director of Sundress Academy in Knoxville) in an Amazon review calls X Marks the Dress, “a narrative of love and identity that unpacks itself again and again. . .Lines and images reappear in new and surprising ways—footnotes, appendices, definitions—that stunningly illustrate exactly how slippery love can be.”


Where did you come up with the inspiration for this poetry collection?

Kristina Marie Darling: My collaborator, Carol Guess, was the mastermind. She had the brilliant idea of structuring the book around the idea of a bridal registry, with each poem named for a domestic object. We wrote the poems in call and response style, with Carol starting us off, and then I responded to her work, and so on. Carol assumed the voice of the husband, and I was the wife. As we worked, the book went in many unexpected directions. For example, the husband realized that he was really a woman. But things didn't become really wild until we introduced a mistress into the narrative....

Water Goblets

Your girlfriend licks sugar off the rim of a crystal shot glass. What happens to the wedding gifts if a marriage dissolves? Before, it was easy to send thank you notes: white scented paper, matching envelopes, & dark green ink. But now you’re changing in the bathroom, unbuttoning the shirt I bought for you at some Labor Day sale. Soon I see you all pale blue in someone else’s designer dress. I’ve undone the little clasp on my purse, searching for gift receipts. Sweetheart, your new bride is waiting in her mud-stained car. The husband I remember wouldn’t look back.

(Link to Mistress flash poems in Mudlark)

MBA: X Marks the Dress is a niche market book which I think could straddle the poetry world and a general audience. For example, I can see brides getting that book at showers or women giving it as gifts before a wedding. Have you experienced cross-over readers?

KMD: Carol and I were amused when the book hit #1 on the Amazon.com Bestselling New Releases for books about bridal gowns.

Read the whole interview here

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The Sun & the Moon by Kristina Marie Darling Reviewed on New Pages

 

The Sun & The Moon

  • Image
  • Poetry
  •  Kristina Marie Darling
  • September 2014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-60964-191-7
  • Paperback
  • 66pp
  • $16.00
  • Kimberly Ann
I just finished reading Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a novel in which the narrator desires that she and her sister resist the socio-economic structure of 1950s New England and reside, instead, on the moon. They finally do achieve this goal by converting their large house into a smaller living space, boarded-up and isolated from the outside world. In novels like Castle, women often reinterpret the boundaries of living spaces in their writing partly because traditional domestic contracts and spaces constrain emotion, creativity, and grief. In her book of poems titled The Sun & the Moon, Kristina Marie Darling contributes to this collective literary voice that unfetters domestic space as her speaker grieves and examines a past marital relationship. The Sun and the Moon, representing respectively a husband and wife, are always at opposite poles in this space that reels with cinematic flashes of memory and the ghosts that inhabit memory over time. 

Darling’s astrological house is inhabited with violent ghosts that “drag those cold stars behind them” and “(start) polishing the knives.” The poems unfold like a story as the first-person female speaker reminisces about ghost’s gradual possession of the domestic domain while the “sun” burns up and the “moon” fades away. Neither partner is able to escape the burdens and desires they drag into the marriage, creating a relational void that apocalyptically flares into violence and retreats behind closed doors, more than hinting at an abusive situation. 
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The Sun & the Moon by Kristina Marie Darling at The Lit Pub!

 

Intractable Ghosts or Kristina Marie Darling’s Personal and Imaginative World in The Sun & the Moon

03/24/15

Sometimes an extraordinary book lands on your doorstep and you’re grateful to be astonished again. Kristina Maria Darling’s The Sun & the Moon is a beauty to behold. A surprising, masterfully written long prose poem that reads like a novel, it weaves a story of a marriage deconstructed in a fantastical, surreal setting, whose strangeness is reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe: “I tore into the envelope & there was only winter inside, not even a card or a handwritten note.”

We’re invited into a mysterious, hypnotic, universe unfolding like a party: “You began as a small mark on the horizon. Then night & its endless train of ghosts. You led them in, one after the other. They took off their shoes, hung their coats & started looking through the drawers.” The reader can only fall in love with the ingenious writing as she/he falls under the spell of this haunted love story that reads like a long dream sequence.

 
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Photos on flickr